We have reached the point in The Challenge where the competitors’ true selves are revealed, and, oh boy, did we learn a lot this week. Let’s dive into the lessons from episode nine.
So long, friends
Unfortunately, the first thing we learned is that Big T’s toe injury was bad enough for the medical team to deem her unfit for competition. Farewell, Big T, hopefully we see you in future seasons.
We also said goodbye to Kailah this week, after she was eliminated by Kaycee in Purgatory. Kailah will, unfortunately, be remembered for stepping out on her boyfriend with Bear, and the surrounding drama that caused. I’m sure we’ll see her in future seasons, but until she shows a little bit more on the competitive side, she doesn’t bring much to the table.
Lastly, we have finally lost Jenna. Once again, the Barbie Beast was deemed “checked out” by the rest of the house, and got voted in by the tribunal. She damn near made them look foolish once again, barely losing to Aneesa in Purgatory. Hopefully, Jenna gets her shit with Zach figured out, and can come back to try and finally win a season.
The sooner that Josh and Swaggy C are off of my screen, the better. Josh is an ultra-sensitive blowhard, who pops off at the slightest offense. Swaggy C is yet another in the long line of “all talk, no walk” cast members. This week, ol’ Swag hit the panic button about 1.7 seconds into the weekly mission, and was given a “medical DQ” – which, I mean, what? The mission entailed jumping down a tube into cold water, finding puzzle pieces, running to the puzzle and solving it; and your boy Swaggy C barely hit the water before he started wailing and flailing around like a toddler, screaming “Help! Help!” and being “rescued” by the medics. No way in hell I trust someone like that to handle the Challenge final.
The two then get into an argument at the bar, which leads to drink throwing and Josh standing on the bar yelling like a pissed off, puberty-stricken teenager. It fizzles out, with vows of “you better watch out!” and such. May they both face Purgatory soon.
Past the halfway point
T.J. said it himself, the game is now past the halfway point, and the time is nigh to get moving. There seemed to be a lot more politicking going down in this episode, now that contestants are finally realizing how fast the final is approaching. It feels like we’re only a few episodes away from the final now, so we should see a lot of urgency in the episodes to come.
Let’s recap where everyone stands:
Red Skull owners: Kaycee, Aneesa, Jenny, Dee, Rogan, Nelson, Fessy.
Still in the game, but no red Skull: Bananas, Wes, Bayleigh, Cory, Josh, Kyle, Nany, Melissa, Mattie, Swaggy C.
Eliminated: Asaf, Jenn, CT, Ashley, Jay, Tori, Jordan, Bear, Big T, Kailah, Jenna.
*Both Jay and Jenna held a Red Skull (two in Jay’s case) at the time of their elimination, and it remains to be seen if that will play a role in the future.
What a perplexing week of politicking. But first! Farewell, Big T. You were too good for The Challenge world. But please, please come back again. Moving on: this was a quality daily challenge. I realize there have been a fair amount of “go find puzzle pieces, put puzzle together” events happening this season, and I do want more physical dailies before it’s over. Is production limited because they can’t do stunt based stuff over open water in cold Prague? Perhaps over a tub of Staropramen? That said, this one did have the cool factor that makes the show great. Plunge down a mysterious drop into the unknown (frigid water) and then run a tunnel system? In. Not in? Swaggy. Awful. Genuinely awful. How does anyone come on this show and not get some laps in at the Y first? Cold water is horrible, I get it. But credit to Aneesa, who pointed out that they are wearing life jackets. It is forever perplexing to me. Nelson, while awful, at least admitted he’d had some swim coaching in the “off-season.” Swaggy joins the illustrious list of Cara Maria and Leroy. He and Josh annoyed the absolute hell out of me this week. Josh standing on the bar was about as Josh as it gets. Loved Bananas being adjacent to this drama, but not a part of it. Dude is playing a strong, strong game this season. Not playing a strong game? Nany. How do you hold power and still lose your entire alliance in one double elimination? It seemed to me that Kailah wanted to go chase after Bear more than Jenna wanted to bail, despite weeks of accusations. Credit here to Kaycee, but especially Aneesa. She has been such a badass in seasons (long) gone by, so it was nice to see her get a win. Biggest loser of the episode? Dee. She was the weakest player on a championship winning team last year, let it go to her head, and has now become insufferable. Rogan admits she has to go after she discusses plans to get rid of Jenny. Gunning for your girl #1, alienating your guy #1. Genius. Also, Dee says she underestimated Kaycee? Have we not all known that Kaycee would whip Dee’s ass this whole season? Things are heating up!
The Challenge is great if only for TJ’s maniacal laugh at poor Melissa and she dropped into a sewer tunnel to complete her competition. And though TD said it above, it bears repeating: Swaggy C is not in the same league as those who are remaining. In truth, he probably isn’t in the same league as Jay, CT, and Jordan, all of whom have lost in Purgatory. Swaggy has avoided Purgatory altogether. His first entrance in it? I’d bet on a loss. It was little, again, but Kyle’s got this annoying swagger that I’m not sure I’ve seen backed up this season. I do like that Rogan turned on Dee. I admitted that she was going to be good for drama, which has held true. You need someone to root against in these shows. She’s definitely one, particularly if you pit her against Jenny, who seems chill enough. Speaking of chill, poor Jenna. “Checked out” was the go-to line to get her back in Purgatory, and it seemed unfair. Can’t you still be checked out and compete well? Maybe not, but maybe so: she went down to the wire against Aneesa, who deserves a win as much as anyone, but you hate to see victory come by dropping Jenna out. I’m interested to say the least in Kaycee and her dominant performance in Purgatory. She’s managed to lay low this season to the point where I’d almost forgotten she was on the show. I like her. Go get ’em. And lastly, was it me or was Wes particularly subdued in the tribunal? We have a tease of his and Bananas’ alliance crumbling, and man, I hope that’s true.
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